Future Ford, Hedricks Workers Get Lesson In Firefighting | Business
Minutes before the fire raged out of control at Future Ford last December, Manuel Luevanos was working as a smog tech on what seemed like just another day.
"I was working on a car, I was underneath the hood. And then all of the sudden I heard there was a fire. I got up. I could see the flames starting. And after that, it started going higher and higher," Luevanos said.
When he got outside, he couldn't believe his eyes.
"It was almost like Backdraft. It was like a Hollywood movie. It was crazy," he said.
Nearly four months later, business is back up and running.
But the massive dirt area just yards away where the shop once stood is a constant reminder, it could all change in an instant.
"On a daily basis they deal with dangerous chemicals, such as gasoline, which started this fire, flammable liquids," Deputy Fire Marshal Gary Sawhill, Clovis Fire Department, said.
That's why the Clovis Fire Department held a fire safety training class Wednesday for about 100 service employees at Future Ford and Hedrick's Chevrolet.
"Showing them how to use a fire extinguisher, what its limitations are, what it can do and always, no matter what, call 911," Sawhill said.
Firefighters started a fire on a flame simulator and each employee put it out with an extinguisher.
"It was kind of intimidating at first if you've never handled it before. But once you get the hang of it, it's easy," Luevanos said.
Manuel says, after Wednesday's training, if he could go back to that December day, he'd do one thing differently.
"We would've called 911 right in the beginning," he said.
"Horribly, if something were ever to happen again either at home or at work, we'd be a little more prepared," Tracy Gill, Future Ford Service Director, said.
Firefighters say mechanics aren't the only ones who've become too comfortable around gasoline.
They say we all have. And they remind drivers that one gallon of gas is equivalent to four sticks of dynamite. So, even the smallest spill shouldn't be taken lightly.